Travel around the world, and you’ll find that when you tell folks you’re from Kentucky, they will immediately ask you about Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. They won’t be terribly impressed when you tell them that KFC and their parent company, YUM! Brands, have their headquarters in Louisville, but if you tell them you know the names of the 11 herbs and spices contained in the Colonel’s secret recipe, it’s good for a free drink in any bar in the world. (You can make ‘em up. By the time they realize you lied, you’ll be back home.)
I tried that trick once in Baku, Azerbaijan. Folks in that little oil town on the Caspian Sea had never heard of the Kentucky Derby, but they all loved Kentucky Fried Chicken. My recipe (see below) earned me V.I.P. treatment wherever I went, but I’m not sure of the same welcome if I ever return. The chickens I saw for sale in the Azerbaijani shops were about the size of parakeets, and if the locals followed my recipe, the finished product would probably taste a lot like 3 pounds of Crisco.
The KFC in Baku, Azerbaijan
The folks over at YUM! are searching around for stories about the Colonel, who passed away after a battle with leukemia, in 1980. Today, KFC launched a website to gather photos, videos and stories about the goateed entrepreneur, whose likeness is still stamped on KFC restaurant signs and chicken buckets around the world.
If you have any stories or photos of the Colonel to share—or just want to read what others have said about him—you should go to the new website: http://www.colonelsanders.com/
I actually got an opportunity to meet the old gentleman, in September of 1970, when I was in invited to attend his 80th Birthday party, at the Brown Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom. After sitting through a string of accolades from various local luminaries, the Colonel took the microphone and said he’d just like to thank everyone and tell a little joke. Sanders told a story about a compassionate rabbi, who was tasked with killing a chicken for a kosher meal. The rabbi said a short prayer in Hebrew, and, as he was about to place his knife at the animal’s throat, the poor thing looked up at him with a sorrowful expression. “Do you have any last words?” whispered the rabbi. “Yes!” screamed the chicken, “Colonel Sanders is a son-of-a-bitch!” It brought the house down.
Take this fake KFC recipe with you, when you travel abroad:
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk
- One 3 pound chicken, cut into 6 pieces
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons Accent (MSG)
- 1 3 pound can of Crisco
1. Combine the egg and buttermilk in a large bowl in the mixture.
2. Add the flour to a separate bowl and fold in all the herbs & spices
3. Roll the chicken in the seasoned flour until completely covered.
4. Set deep-fryer to 170º Celsius
Cook chicken for 15 minutes each.
Learn more: KFC Baku facebook page
Col. Sanders: “I am not a legend.”